The time every parent dreads when they get on an airplane with a young child is if your child starts screaming. We’ve all been on a flight sometime where there was a screaming child.

Now I don’t get upset at a screaming child if the reason they are screaming is legitimate. If they are just spoiled and not getting their own way, I’m upset at the parents. Your child must learn that he/she cannot always get their own way, and being on a plane does present some challenges for the active child. They can’t just get up when they want.

However, most of the time you hear a screaming child on an airplane is because it is hurting their ears and/or sinuses. While an older child and adult understand a bit more as to what is happening, and won’t scream, a young child or baby just knows it hurts. What do you do?

The first time we flew with a young child was when our oldest was two years old. At one time we¬†flew with three young children (age 5, 3, and almost 2 – that’s a story in itself). Another time we flew with a three-month-old baby.

Before we got on the plane, I talked with the pediatrician. If anyone could help, it would be him. The best thing to do is to distract them as you take off. Give them something to eat, like a piece of candy that will make them swallow a lot. For example, for a child old enough, a piece of hard candy. If they are younger, give them a snack, preferably something that will make them have to swallow a lot. For a baby, nurse them or give them a bottle. It does help. The continual swallowing can help reduce the pressure.

My husband, who typically has a problem with sinus pressure when flying, uses Hall’s cough drops. If your child is of the age where they can have one of them, that is even better. The menthol and eucalyptus really do help. Smelling peppermint oil could also help.

Our pediatrician gave us some additional advice on a type of nose drop to use right before taking off. Do NOT use these unless you get an ok from your doctor. Not all children should use them. I didn’t tell you what kind to use, because I want to be sure you don’t do it if you shouldn’t use them on your child. Ask your pediatrician, they’ll know.

We also made sure our children had some activities to do while on the flight. You don’t want your child running around the aisles. They will just be in the way of other passengers (and the flight attendants, too). That is just being inconsiderate. If they need to get up and walk, then you should walk with them to be sure they behave.

If you prepare your children ahead of time, teaching them how to behave and how to sit for an extended period of time, it will go much easier for you and the other passengers. I told my children what to expect (well, not the baby), and what we expected of them. While there were varying degrees of understanding, it does help if you start explaining and to explain a number of times before you take off.